The solute specificity profiles of nucleobase cation symporter 1 (NCS1) from Zea mays and Setaria viridis illustrate functional flexibility
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The solute specificity profiles (transport and binding) for the nucleobase cation symporter 1 (NCS1) proteins, from the closely related C4 grasses Zea mays and Setaria viridis, differ from that of Arabidopsis thaliana and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii NCS1. Solute specificity profiles for NCS1 from Z. mays (ZmNCS1) and S. viridis (SvNCS1) were determined through heterologous complementation studies in NCS1-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains. The four Viridiplantae NCS1 proteins transport the purines adenine and guanine, but unlike the dicot and algal NCS1, grass NCS1 proteins fail to transport the pyrimidine uracil. Despite the high level of amino acid sequence similarity, ZmNCS1 and SvNCS1 display distinct solute transport and recognition profiles. SvNCS1 transports adenine, guanine, hypoxanthine, cytosine, and allantoin and competitively binds xanthine and uric acid. ZmNCS1 transports adenine, guanine, and cytosine and competitively binds, 5-fluorocytosine, hypoxanthine, xanthine, and uric acid. The differences in grass NCS1 profiles are due to a limited number of amino acid alterations. These amino acid residues do not correspond to amino acids essential for overall solute and cation binding or solute transport, as previously identified in bacterial and fungal NCS1, but rather may represent residues involved in subtle solute discrimination. The data presented here reveal that within Viridiplantae, NCS1 proteins transport a broad range of nucleobase compounds and that the solute specificity profile varies with species.
KeywordsSetaria viridis Zea mays Purine Pyrimidine Nucleobase cation symporter 1
We thank Regan Huntley and Carol Clark at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station for expert technical assistance. We also thank the Biology Department at the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, Indiana, for use of their confocal microscope. This work was funded by research funds from IPFW to G.S.M. and Hatch Fund CONH00253 to N.P.S.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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